Why I only preach to the choir

Every Cathedral Should Have Stained Glass

The main reason I spun off this blog from Nothing By The Book is because I only wanted to “preach to the choir”—the people already interested in unschooling and homeschooling.

Now, this is a change-and-a-half from my mindset when we started on this journey!

Initially, when we decided to homeschool (I don’t even use the “U” word with family and friends, much less strangers at the bus stop, for the most part; the “H” word has caused them enough worry), I invested a lot of time and energy and thought into explaining why we were doing what we were doing (and how, but without the “U” word). Did it work? I doubt it.

I think most of it went through a filter of their established opinions and they what they hear/receive is rarely the message I had intended to send…

So, over time, slowly, I stopped preaching, explaining, attempting to “convert,” or even “get them to understand.”

Here’s where I’m at right now with it: In a perfect world, I would love it if everyone in my life, including the ex-husband of my brother-in-law’s third-cousin’s step-uncle—approved, or at least understood, why we choose to live life the way we do. In the real world, I’ll settle for them not actively sabotaging it. I don’t need to “convert” them. I don’t need to “sell” them. I don’t need their approval. I don’t seek it or invite it.

What I do instead: I live my life as I want to live it—we as a family live our life as we want to live it. I accept that others—family and close friends in particular—will have strong opinions as to how we *should* live our life and they will offer these opinions to me with varying frequency. I can’t stop them from doing so. When they offer their opinions, their disapprovals and their instructions for what I ought to do with my life and my children, I listen, make polite respectful “ahhmm” noises, then change the topic, and do the thing I think is right.

What “sells” friends and family on homeschooling and unschooling (just as it mayhaps did on attachment parenting when they were babies?) is not what you say or how you argue, but the actual real-life result. When the kids are clearly happy and healthy and thriving ; the parents are fulfilled and confident—really hard to argue with that.

Photo (Every Cathedral Should Have Stained Glass) by widdowquinn


3 responses to “Why I only preach to the choir

  1. Hi, great post, this is exactly how I feel. We are fairly new to the whole concept of unschooling. We discovered it a couple of years ago from new friends we made while traveling in Argentina. My wife also wrote a post last night regarding unschooling if you are interested you can find it here: http://expatexperiment.com/why-we-choose-to-unschool/ We would like like to connect with other unschoolers in Calgary can you suggest where we can find like minded people?


  2. Rob, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment; just had a read at your wife’s post–welcome to the journey. I’ve got a link here to some local resources https://undogmaticunschoolers.wordpress.com/unschooling-in-calgary/connect/ — the two Facebook groups mentioned are quite active, and the yahoo group Unschooling Canada is overwhelmingly peopled by Calgarians (although quieter these days). You might also want to check out one of the homeschool days at Patterson Springs Farms, lots of unschoolers within that circle. We’re everyone in Calgary, actually.

    And I’m happy to correspond off-blog if you’d like.

  3. Isn’t that the truth. It is hard not to sing its praises though when you realize how that freedom to choose has developed a different child. I can say with confidence mine would have done just fine in school, but they are free of a system that defines them. Just by its nature. They are clear, at a very young age who they are. That observation is hard not to brag about.

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